Growing up, I knew something about me was different.
These are the kinds of questions that ran through my mind almost interminably:
Why am I not gregarious like my peers?
Why don't I seem to get as worked up about stuff?
Why don't I enjoy drawing attention to myself like my friends do?
Why do others give me such a hard time for being quiet and keeping to myself?
If you're an introvert, I'm sure you can relate.
Chances are it wasn't until you reached your teens or young adulthood (perhaps even later, as did I) that you discovered there wasn't anything wrong with you.
Society had simply conditioned you and me to believe there was because it is extroverts -- the loud, chatty folks who yearn for the spotlight -- who seem in the majority, and they harbor a healthy distrust of mild-mannered, self-contained individuals.
Take job ads you see online or in the paper.
How many times have seen keywords/phrases like these peppered in said listings:
- Quick on your feet
- Outstanding communication skills
- Can work in teams
I've lost count!
How about the disapproving looks you get when you tell people that:
- You'd rather stay in and read than go out to a party
- You become drained after heavy social interaction
- You prefer small groups to large crowds
- You observe and gather your thoughts before contributing to the conversation
No matter how much flak you get from others who can't grasp what being an introvert is really like (since their internal make-up is different), hold fast.
No matter how hard people try to pressure you into coming out of your shell, or being more like them or how they think you should be, don't budge.
Now, if you want to work on faking extroversion at times because you feel it might help you career- or relationship-wise, go for it.
Make adjustments on your terms and not others'.
There are far too many extroverts and too few introverts in the world to have another one of us defect to the other side, all to gain others' approval.
You need no one's validation but your own!
If someone can't accept you for who you are, maybe you're simply in the wrong job or relationship.
Your unique attributes as an introvert -- depth, intelligence, creativity, quiet confidence -- are ones to celebrate, not be ashamed of.
The world should be thankful it isn't solely inhabited by extroverts. If it were, you wouldn't have:
- as many innovative novels, artworks, and inventions being put out
- someone in the conversation who actually stops to listen
- people willing to share (or gladly give up) the spotlight
- people who delve into deep topics
Let's face it, fellow introverts: The world could not revolve without us. It's time we took pride and delight in being the rare, introspective, bright, profound breed we are.
Always stay true to yourself -- and be inspired by your introversion! I came to accept my introversion as fundamental to my identity, and you can too!
Keep reading my posts for can't-miss tips on introvert acceptance and empowerment.
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